Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Opposite Book Tag!

I was tagged by Izzy over at The Reading Izzy to do the Opposite Book Tag! Thanks so much sweetie and be sure to go over to her page and check out her answers!

First book in your collection and the last one you bought

My first book that I really remember was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  My mother read it to my brother and I when we were probably 6 and 5 respectively. She would read passages to us at night and get us to practice our reading skills by doing the same.  I remember my brother getting sick of the process quickly but I loved it.

My most recently bought book was House of Korba by C.L. Stone, which is part of The Ghost Bird series. I have no shame.  I'm a total fangirl over the series and I can't believe I have to wait until APRIL for the next book to come out.

A cheap book and an expensive book

I get a lot of books for free but I really did enjoy Demons at Deadnight by A&E Kirk. I got it for free for my kindle and absolutely adored it.  I apparently now have this thing for reverse harems where there is one female protagonist and a lot of male ones.  Is that weird?

As for expensive books, I would have to go with one of my college textbooks that I still use fairly often, so it applies right? It was about $200 when I first bought it which is flipping ridiculous. Environmental Land Use Planning and Management by John Randolph is a lot of book but it talks about how people screw up (Atlanta, Los Angeles...I'm looking at you) by not planning for large populations.  It's why Georgia keeps trying to get water from Alabama and Tennessee....anywho...

A book with a male protagonist and one with a female protagonist

Look how attractive that male protagonist is. Hounded by Kevin Hearne is definitely a guy's book with no romance, lots of sarcasm and snark and a healthy amount of killing things that need some killing.  It was sort of refreshing to not have the complications of a relationship in a book.

The book I chose for my female protagonist is The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.  It is the first one in the Slains series and was a wonderful read.  Do you ever run into an author that you will read whatever they write because you have never had a bad experience with their stories?  That is Kearsley for me.  Her novels are time slip stories, mostly set in England or with English protagonists.  They really are lovely and have beautiful covers.

A book you read fast and one that took you long to read

Angelfall by Susan Ee maybe took me 4 hours to read and that was while doing other stuff. I speed read too much and it bothers me but sometimes, I just can't help it.

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy took me months to finish and I absolutely dreaded some sections.  I wouldn't let a book beat me though, especially a classic.  I'm really too stubborn for my own good.  Some parts though just went on and on and I could never figure out how much they really related to the plot.

Pretty cover and an ugly cover

Susanna Kearsley really has some of the prettiest covers and The Firebird has to be one of my favorite covers of all time. It is the second and final book in the Slains series but goes to Russia instead of spending lots of time in England. Love love love love love the cover.  

I hated the cover of Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase.  It is an adult book that looks like it came straight from Sabrina.  The cover doesn't really match the book at all and I personally don't like cartoons for covers.

A national book and an international one

I have the problem of being American which means a lot of my books are considered national books so I'm sort of turning into a regional book.  Big Fish was written by sort of a local hero for some, Daniel Wallace.  People around here know him and think he is a great guy.  When Big Fish came out, people's reaction was something along the lines of "Yeah, that's about right."

International books, I should have used Tolstoy for this one.  I'll have to go with Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.  It is one of my favorite stories and Broadway musicals.  The book is wonderful as well and it brings the characters to life, just as much as on the stage.  And it's spooky as hell which I love.

A thin book and a thick one

My thinnest book that isn't a novella is probably The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.  It's a somewhat drab cover but I enjoyed this book.  I think it is relevant to the modern generation just as much as it was in the 1960's.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is probably the longest book I have that isn't a textbook or an anthology.  It is over a 1000 pages and is one of the few fantasy books that kept me occupied for more than a week.  The longest book in my collection is over 2800 pages and is an anthology of American literature.

Fiction and Non-fiction book

Cry Baby Hollow by Aimee Love is sort of an urban fantasy in the woods, if that makes sense.  I really don't like the cover because it doesn't make sense contextually in the book but I loved the book itself. 

For non-fiction, The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature by David George Haskell is a really cool read.  A college professor sat in a 1 square meter plot of earth and observed the world around him every day for a full year.  He would spend an hour there and watch everything change. Makes me wish I was a tenured professor and I could do something like that.

Very romantic book and an action book

I have to be traditional for the romantic book.  North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is one of the most perfect romances ever.  Watch the miniseries or read the book but I guarantee that you will fall in love with Mr. Thornton.  He is better than Mr. Darcy and Rhett Butler and that's a lot coming from a Southern girl.

My action book will be...American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  This book is pretty much all action and trying to fight for something.  I frequently wanted to shake Shadow, the male protagonist, silly but it is a crazy book to read.  

A book that made you happy and a book that made you sad

Austenland by Susan Hale is such a cute book. It made me happy for the fact that the main character ended up happy.  She has a wonderful memorable romance with a great guy. This is a book that you can live vicariously through.  The movie was also good.

This category should have been books made into movies for me because for one that made me sad, I've picked P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern.  I cried like a baby through the book and it was lucky that I watched the movie on my own because I was an absolute mess.

So those are my books for the Opposite books tag! I feel like a lot of them were kind of cheesy but I like cheesy books sometimes.  That was a lot of fun since it got me to dig through my bookshelves and remember old books :-)  I am tagging these authors to do it as well:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: Redemption by Donna Augustine (The Alchemy Series #4)

The grand finale...

One of the reasons that I have mentioned for really liking this series is because it ends.  Sometimes, you read this dystopian stuff and it ends up being a crap ending because nobody knows what to do with the heroes when it is all over.  Should you kill them? Should you have them walk into the sunset?  Redemption is a conclusion and a beginning.  The characters have a lot of work to do in their future but you aren't worried about them anymore.

Let's talk about that cover.

This is the only cover from this series that I didn't like. That's not to say that it isn't a pretty cover but it feels like a cop out. If I were the publisher or writer, I would have had that same blonde model on it but just in a different capacity.  

That tree has a lot to do with the plot of the last book, probably being Burrom's tree. (Even though that was a maple and this one looks distinctly oakey) But that girl has been on all of the others and she could have fit on this one too.  This cover gives no real hints about the 4th book, but rather shows the grayness that I imagine when the post-apocalyptic world is described. It's a good cover. It just doesn't match at all.

Moving on.

I got so angry with Cormac at the beginning of this book.  I mean, he leaves Jo in the middle of this angry impossible world.  But it is true to who he is as a character.  He is willing to sacrifice (and on occasion, force others to sacrifice) for their own good and for the greater good of others.  I believe that he never gave Jo anything she couldn't handle and it forced her to grow up which she desperately needed to do.

Jo was a selfish girl and only really looked out for herself.  She throws grand pity parties and is horribly flawed. She drinks too much. She acts out and has an attitude.  But you know what? Cormac loves her anyways and that is beautiful.

The way I feel about you doesn't come with a set of restrictions. There are no rules that say if you do this or you don't do that, I won't care anymore. This is just an aspect of who you are and I love you for the entirety of you, not for the different pieces I can pull out.

That quote practically makes the book for me.  That's how love is! It isn't instant most of the time and it isn't easy.  You have to take the good and the bad of the person and accept them for who they are. Cormac does that perfectly and it takes Jo a while to wise up.

Cormac is protective and domineering but that's what Jo needs in so many ways.  He is the rock that she doesn't want to lean on. He is strong for her when she is tired of pretending to be Super Woman.

This book isn't, of course, just about their romance.  The Senator has finally mobilized and battle to end things is near.  Jo comes to the realization that something has to give.  A change has to come in order for things to balance out.  She recognizes that she has to be their champion and the one that fights for all of the people that are left.  She takes so much responsibility for what has happened and she is the one that fixes it.

The ending of this book is wonderful as already stated.  It is not a happy ending.  It is not a nice redeemed world wrapped up in a pretty pink bow.  There is still a lot of work to do to repair all of the damage that has been wrought.  But there is peace.  There is a sense of everything being ok.  You get the sense that this is what these characters were created to do.  They weren't created for drama or angst.  They were made to save the world.

So despite the problems that the series has, I still rate it all as 5/5 stars overall.  I'm sad to part with Jo, Cormac and Burrom but I still believe that if the world was to end as we know it, this is how I would want it to go.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: Frostbitten by Heather Beck

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Lovers of Paranormal.

Frostbitten by Heather Beck is the story of a girl who moves to the middle of nowhere, shipped off by her mother.  Everything seems all perfect there with her grandparents, just as she remembers it.  But what things seem to be and what they are can be two different things altogether...

Let's start with the cover.

I know I nitpick covers.  I'm horrible about it but I really can't help it with this one.  I get that these are stock images that are merged together.  But please, put some effort into it.

The wolf is floating above the snow.  The hues and lighting are completely different for the two.  The model has direct light and the wolf is in some shadow on his right side.  Also...who wears a flowy sleeveless chiffon gown into the woods?  It doesn't make sense.

It's also a bit too on the nose.  The first half of the book is written to be really suspenseful but the flipping answer is right on the cover.  It's a cute idea for the cover but poorly executed, which was kind of a theme for the whole book.


I couldn't get into this character much at all.  This girl is so whiny.  She claims at the beginning of the book that she is a "good girl" and "shy" but quickly reveals that she has been drinking and partying with her boyfriend and that is why her mother is sick trying to help her.  Those two elements don't fit well together, at least for me.  She also claims that she loves books but when she moves to Cedar Falls, all of a sudden she is too cool for them.  For someone that is supposed to be kind or whatever, she is awfully stuck up.

I get that she feels abandoned but her relationships are not consistent throughout the book.  She isn't mature enough to have a good conversation with her grandmother until halfway through the book but she is mature enough to reach out and mend fences with her mother?  She has a bad relationship and immediately plunges into another one with a boy that she barely knows and her grandparents hate?  Anastasia never did much to build up her character or give me a reason to be empathetic with her.  She lets herself get bullied at school by mean little girls and gets sucked in far too easily into the drama.  I wanted her to be so much stronger than she was.


The misunderstood ostracized boy.  He is the most compelling character in the book.  The author gives him depth.  He has a reason to act the way that he does and he has real motivations that spur these actions.  Frost isn't worried about being popular or fitting in.  He knows who he is as a person and he is very secure in that.

However...he is a cliched character, through and through.  The cliches exist because they work in some situations.  Frost is handsome and strong and rugged and perfect except for his big secret that nobody else can know because the villagers will freak out.  Is anybody else seeing Edward or Jacob in this? (I intensely disliked Twilight because of these reasons too)

What's happening

Overall, I've heard this story before.  It felt like a knockoff of the Twilight series from the beginning.  Girl moves to a snowy town where something is being torn up in the woods.  She has nightmares.  She has overprotective family.  She is a weak heroine.  She hears howling at night and there is this gorgeous unapproachable boy that pays attention to her and only her.  She discovers his big bad secret, runs off with him to protect him and falls desperately in love with him very quickly.

This book could have been something so much better.  The author has a halfway decent idea, she just has to make it unique in some way.  There needed to be something more dangerous going on, instead of just hunters.  There needed to be more than just silly mean little girl drama and a family's disapproval.

So close...yet so far away.  If you want to read this plotline, read Twilight.  There is at least some slightly interesting tension there.

2.5/5 stars.  Promising idea, poorly executed.  Also, the name?  Frost...bitten...werewolf...ugh

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1)

I love pretty books with lots of metaphors.  I love having to work through a book and struggling a bit to read it.  That's what makes some books so polarizing and can make people hate them but hey, I like to have to work to understand sometimes.  This book combines elements of Divergent with a Stephen King novel.  It's creepy in some ways and you never really know what the full extent of Juliette's powers are.  You want to root for her but I know I hesitated, just because she holds back as a narrator and I never trusted her.  Another reason to love the book.  It keeps you on your toes.

This cover is wonderful.  It picks up on so many elements of the book.  

The crossing out of words or phrases like at the top happens constantly but somehow, I ended up loving it.  It shows the inside workings of someone who is fighting her natural inclinations in order to stay alive and stay sane.  

The eye, I think, is Adam's and Juliette fixates his eyes a lot.  It is how she recognizes him and one of the ways that she connects to him.  The eyes are the window to the soul, you know.

The branches/veins/ice coming off of the eye also reflects a lot of the style of this author.  She is symbolic.  She is poetic.  There are lots of metaphors and allusions.  It is like reading the better version of high school creative writing where everybody is trying to be profound and just ends up sounding like a jackass.

"I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction."
I find that beautiful.  You don't see authors these days really working to make stuff sound pretty.  I feel like an audiobook of this would be absolutely wonderful to listen to, especially with the right narrator.  I think the words would just roll off the tongue.

This is the story of a broken world.  Old things are idealized and glorified, like birds flying or normal sunsets.  The world that exists in Shatter Me is a wasteland.  It is controlled by a sort of Big Brother type government that puts the "useless" people in society in asylums and basically enslaves the rest.  It is supposedly to protect the world but Juliette has her doubts.  She is unerringly positive throughout the book that maybe there is something else out there and maybe the sky isn't falling like the government claims it is.

Onto the characters.


This girl is damaged and it is obvious.  She isn't the most reliable of all narrators but she seems like she is just barely maintaining her sanity at times, especially towards the front of the book.  Juliette is stronger than her surroundings though (in more ways than one) and she does what she has to in order to stay well adjusted.  I like her.  I admire her strength and how she can protect herself if necessary.  She is also extremely moral and weighs the consequences of her actions.


Adam is honestly the only character I didn't connect with in this book.  He is just too flipping nice.  Now, I hate being that girl that only loves the "bad boys" but in this case, I am being her.   Adam is too gentle and doesn't really show any edge.  He is strong. He is loyal. He is the Prince Charming of this book and never does a damn thing wrong and never gets truly angry.  I want some edge. I want action and tension.  He didn't do that for me.


My poor broken antagonist.  He really is the pathetic character of the book and I adore him for that. I just want to help him.  It's obvious that he isn't really a cruel person, just a lonely one.  He is just as damaged as Juliette and when he finally finds someone that he thinks he can connect with and love, she pushes him away.  I want someone to reach out to him!  He is the bad boy that doesn't want to be bad.  He is the big pit bull chained to a tree that barks when people get close but cuddles in their laps when they hold him.  At least, that is the impression I get.

I'm looking forward to the next book and my goal is to not burn through them quickly.  These are books to be savored I think.

4/5 stars.  I took off a star just because Adam is too nice and I want him to not be.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review: Shadows of Serenity by Marsha A. Moore

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Lovers of Paranormal on Goodreads.

God, I had such high hopes for this book.  I loved the idea of combining yoga and paranormal stuff.  It was something that I hadn't heard of before and I was so into the idea.

It had a pretty cover too.  This really could have been a great book...however...

Shadows of Serenity is the story of a woman who opens a yoga studio in an old Victorian house. Joyce and her boyfriend, Eric, quickly realize that there is more to the house than meets the eye. Repairs aren't going as planned and there seems to be a mysterious ghostly presence in the house. Nothing is settling and everything in the air is tense. When the new yoga teaching students come in, it is their responsibility to help the restless spirit and liberate the house from the dark entity that hovers in the background.

This book starts with a simple yoga idea and expands it. It took basic principles and applied them to magical powers that are channeled through yogic practices. Joyce can talk to birds. Others can sense spirits or auras and others can take pain or anxiety away from someone else. While I get that a lot of this is based off of old teachings, I never found it compelling in any sense. It tap danced a line between a paranormal story and basically a manual/short story about a woman with a yoga studio.

Personally, I never connected to the characters. Their problems weren't real to me and it never felt like they had real personalities. I kept getting this impression that it would be a really great read for someone that was deeply involved in yoga but it didn't translate to the layman or casual yoga person. Everything was solved through yoga poses and deep breathing. Yes, people got hurt. Bad things happen. But I never believed that sending good energy at a psychopath would help anything.

Overall, this book lacked substance for me. The characters were weak and the writing read like an instruction booklet. I appreciate yoga, I really do. But I never believed enough in the strength enough to root for Joyce or anybody else and truly think that they could conquer the spirits in the house.

A good author should make me believe that these characters could do anything if they put their minds to it, but that never happened.

2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Shattered by Donna Augustine (The Alchemy Series #3)

Shattered by Donna Augustine is the third installment of the completed Alchemy series.
Chaos, doom and gloom

Jo really loses herself in this book and in many ways, I think she is well within her rights to do so.  She has caused an apocalypse.  Life as we know it is over.  Millions are dead because of her.  I would drink too.

This book shows a slow collapse of a character.  She has to go through a "break me down to build me up" process where she realizes that she cares about other people in her life enough to despair when she ruins everything.  Many other reviews have called her whiny and self serving in this book but I think that she has an appropriate response to what has happened.

People are whiny and horrible.  They play stupid games to get pity and self destruct.  The human reactions in this series is what really makes it for me, despite the occasional sub par writing.  You just want to reach out and shake the characters and knock some sense into them.

Otras personas

More characters are introduced or developed in this book as well.  Burrom is wonderful and hilarious.  He is one of the few that doesn't look at Jo like she is broken, merely like she is going through something necessary.  He asks her for help and shows confidence in her.

Dodd and Buzz grow as well.  They both started off as henchmen and have now developed into real people.  Dodd goes from vain playboy to someone that is willing to sacrifice for those he loves.  Buzz becomes a rock for Jo and Cormac and is always there when he is needed.  He is the perfect employee and friend, in this.

So after everything, I still love this book and will still give it 5/5 stars.  I know it is a short review but hey, what can you do.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today I'm Reading...

I have far too many books on my plate and not enough time to read them all.  It's an awesome problem to have.

At the moment, I'm reading the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning for the first time.  I finished the first book yesterday afternoon and the second book early this morning while I was waiting at the tax assessor's office.
Check out that cover. It screams creepy.
Why didn't I read these years ago?  They are seriously amazing books and I cannot put them down.  I'll probably be reading the next book by this afternoon or tomorrow.  I should slow down but I can't. And we can't stopppp...and we won't stopppp.

I'm also on the third book of the Alchemy Series by Donna Augustine.  Shattered is about how all of the world has gone to hell and there are very few people that can (literally) stitch it back together.  Jo has a meltdown and Cormac is a tool.  I love it. More rereads!
Number 4 out of 5 is Shadows of Serenity by Marsha A. Moore.  This is a R2R through Lovers of Paranormal on Goodreads.
Finally, the last one is a guilty pleasure and I probably shouldn't be admitting to it since it is kind of silly.  I'm obsessed with the series though and the next book comes out in 11 days.  Not that I'm counting.  Drop of Doubt, #5 in The Ghost Bird series by C.L. Stone.  This is a reread too.

I love pretty covers but the last one bothers me.  The character of Sang in the book is supposed to be a dirty blonde.  All of the covers have her as a brunette.  This is an easy thing to avoid.  Just get a blonde model or use blonde stock photos.  It's not that hard.

I don't think I have enough books.  No wonder I get migraines.

Has anybody else read any of these?  What did you think?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review: Keepers & Killers by Donna Augustine (The Alchemy Series #2)

Keepers & Killers is the second book in the Alchemy Series by Donna Augustine.  It picks up a few months after the first book ends and this is where the shit really hits fan.

It starts with another pretty cover, showing Jo again, this time in what I call her "poker outfit".  She has been working at the casino for a few months now and has picked up the habit of gambling with the high rollers.  She makes money by operating a wormhole into the other worlds in the basement of The Lacard which she is now pretty good at, despite her rough start.

The Bad Guy

The character of Senator Core was introduced in the last book but he becomes the real villain in this one.  He is not what he seems on the outside, a classy suave politician and is something much worse.  Nobody knows what though.  I like how the author gives the reader someone to hate.  In the last book, it wasn't exactly as cut and dry since Jo was still learning so much about the world she had been dragged into. Senator Core is the perfect evil man.

He causes a lot of heartache and pain in Jo's life, something that she never thought she would feel again.  She had cut herself off from everyone and pushed Cormac away emphatically but Core manages to cut her deep.  He goes after her past and her old friends and foster families.  Since he can't hurt her physically, he attacks her emotionally.

Moving on

Things escalate quickly, especially after a prophecy from the last book becomes startlingly relevant.  Even then though, Jo and Cormac have time to bicker and ignore the sexual tension between them.

"Are you calling me slow?" "More like idiot savant"
I honestly love the immaturity of it all.  Cormac is above that and is hundreds of years old but he still loves pushing Jo's buttons and she is just as bad.  She insults him, pushes him away, yells at him, insults him some more and yet still finds him incredibly sexy.  He is obviously attracted to her but there is no force behind his affections.  He is controlled and doesn't push her beyond what she can handle and he lets her make her own decisions.
"Between the shooting and now the hitting, I'm starting to harbor some suspicions about what era you people really come from.  Chemists, my ass."
 I mean, he steals her trailer.  He basically imprisons her just to piss her off (and really to watch out for her. He is after all, a good guy.)  Cormac shows that he has a little bit of the gentleman in him and a little bit of the caveman too.  He always seems to be constrained by having to act like he is normal but as Jo points out, he has a somewhat uncivilized manner to him and that is what makes him so strong and intimidating.

Jo grows a lot in this book and I appreciate that this is sort of like a coming of age story inside of a science fiction novel.  She realizes that she is the only person that can really fix what is going on with the wormholes malfunctioning and the weird prophecy about her.  Jo has to come out of the her bunker against other people and accept that she is part of something bigger than herself.  She has a moral responsibility to help.  This growth is necessary because she has to overcome her inclination to avoid feelings and move forward with her relationships, not only with Cormac but also his henchmen, Buzz and Dodd, who become close friends and her old friend, Lacey, who Cormac is using as a weapon against her.  Jo feels her walls crumbling and finally sees that she has to let them fall.

Action and Adventure

Keepers & Killers does not fall to the second book syndrome and takes a massive step forward with the plot.  It almost turns into a horror story by the end when everything starts falling apart.  The characters do not remain in Las Vegas and the readers can see whole scale destruction in a new way.  I frankly haven't read anything like this as far as apocalypses go.  It's a good one.  But this is only the second in the series and the worst is yet to come.  The character building that happens in this book is necessary to support all of the chaos that is to come, foreshadowed by the ending here.
"Welcome to our new universe."

5/5 stars.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: The Keepers by Donna Augustine (The Alchemy Series #1)

It's time for rereads!

I know I'm probably a little crazy.  I accept this as part of my life and move on.  I'm obsessed with rereading books.

It probably started when I would be stuck in the car for hours, going on soccer trips or up to the lake.  It got reinforced during college when I was in and out of physical therapy and orthopedic centers.  It was cemented in after college when I wanted a bit of nostalgia and reached back into my old bookshelves at home to old comforting books and my high school anthologies.

So here I am, rereading a wonderful series by Donna Augustine.

Don't you freaking love the cover?

The cover shows the main character, Jo, against a moon with her sunglasses on (hey, it is Vegas) and shit-kicker boots.  It doesn't give much away about the book but I love how the model is looking over her shoulder, like Jo does for the majority of the first book.  It is dark, mysterious and the model matches the character well.


Jo is a kick ass heroine who is trying to work her way through college.  She takes her friend up on a job at a new casino in Vegas, hoping that it will give her a little more free time and better tips than at the dingy diner that was her previous place of employment.  Jo lives by herself, in a trailer park.  She distances herself intentionally so people won't know what a freak she is.  If it wasn't such a cheesy reference, I would say that song "Independent Woman Part 1" by Destiny's Child would fit her.  Jo has been alone so long that she doesn't know any other way, except to take care of herself and mind her own business.

“Only honest people take you at your word. Liars and thieves expect the same in return. Unfortunately for him, I didn’t have a problem lying when it came to saving my own ass."

Jo never anticipates that this casino job is about to become a lot more than that.  The distressingly attractive owner of The Lacard is part of the problem.  The other problem is that her secret may not be as unusual as she thinks and covering it up is becoming more and more difficult.


I have to put this character together in my mind.  I imagine the strength and size of someone like Chris Hemsworth, the voice and power of Richard Armitage and the personality of Rick from Casablanca, wonderfully portrayed by Humphrey Bogart.  He is the kind of man you can picture in a battle with a sword just as well as you can see him prowling the tables of a casino like an overlord. Which I guess is part of the point

"He smelled too good, he looked too good and it was just completely unfair.  Villains were supposed to be ugly.  Just another was I was getting screwed in this deal  My villain didn't even look like he was supposed to."

This character works.  Cormac is awesome and I understand his motivations.  He is a strong man who has been in control for a long time and knows what he is doing.  He knows his purpose in life.  He has a job.  He has a direction.  He is successful and he has fun when he has time for it.

But he is just as isolated as Jo in all of this.  Yes, he has staff and acquaintances but he doesn't have a partner or a confidant.  He has to be overlord all of the time but has no time for friends which can be a lonely existence for him. Sure, he can distract himself with the other women at the casino but Jo seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

What's happening

Jo, as I said, is an independent girl.  She was passed around through the foster care program as a child, never really having a place to belong.  Her foster parents figure out that she has powers and she gets shuffled off.  For the first part of the book, her powers aren't exactly specific.  Telekinesis?  Things tend to start floating around her and she seems to have some sort of electroshock thing going on but it is never really explained and that adds to the mystery.

A girl named Lacey is her lab partner and as close to a friend as she has.  She gets Jo a job as a waitress at a casino to bring in more money over a shorter amount of time.  Jo is resistant at first, she hates accepting favors, but eventually caves.  She quickly meets the owner of the casino and realizes why everybody is so intimidated by him.  He is the epitome of hot alpha male. Cormac is too sexy for his own good and knows it.  Furthermore, he likes to watch Jo and seems to be the overlord of his own little kingdom of The Lacard.

When Jo sees something that she shouldn't, things go downhill very quickly.  That sexy alpha man of a boss? Yeah, he orders her to be shot.  

That's really the beginning of her story to figure out who she is and what she is doing with her life.  The Lacard is hiding a huge secret that includes aliens, wormholes, Fae and werewolves.  Cormac needs Jo's abilities to help keep things moving along and keep the peace between all of the societies but there are more problems than just her not knowing what she can do.

The Fae are after her. The werewolves are after her. All she wanted was to be able to drift into the crowd and now she is expected to help keep the Earth in one piece,  Talk about pressure.

Why I Love It

There really isn't anything that I don't like about this book, or this series in general.  There is no insta-love.  There is attraction and jealousy and petty rivalries.  Jo is vindictive and Cormac can be just as bad.  It's sort of refreshing to see people fighting and duking it out, just like real people do.  They don't pull their punches and are horrendously rude to each other.  I've gotten so sick of these books that is all serious drama where people aren't just being stubborn and they don't just accept things.  Jo stands up for herself and I think that Cormac respects that and finds it hilarious at the same time.

It's also laugh out loud funny.  Jo is so sarcastic and grating.  I'd probably hate dealing with her as a person but Cormac is just as bad.  She uses it as a defense mechanism but she can always be counted on to say something unexpected.

So 5/5 stars.  All good. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Hi everyone!

This blog will be mostly dedicated to book reviews and discussion.  I'm very new at all of this and somewhat reluctant to even start all of this but I think it will be fun and I'm willing to try.

The name for this blog comes from my darling Cairn Terrier, Tara.  The first week I had her, she peed all over everyone and she earned the nickname "Tara Belle", which when you say it quickly, sounds like "Terrible".  This is not to say that this will only be talking about horrible books or that I'm a terrible reviewer, but more because she curls up next to me when I read and is a wonderful lap warmer.  Tara Belle also, in some weird convoluted way, mean "Beautiful Earth" which sort of fits, considering her breed and my environmental background.

My little hellion, Tara

So, little things first.  I am on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/bwilliams2013 and I probably will be promoting this blog at some point, somewhere on there.  Vague right?  But as it is, I'm always welcome to new friends and thoughtful discussions.

(I'll come back and edit all of this later, I'm sure.)